US Giveaway: Becoming Mrs. Lewis paperback release

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

Paperback release:  March 24, 2020 – Thomas Nelson

Giveaway copy courtesy of Tandem Literary

The new expanded edition includes:

  • a map of Oxford
  • an expanded discussion guide with 20+questions for book clubs
  • a timeline of Jack and Joy’s lives
  • Joy’s (imagined) letter to Jack
  • 10 Things You May Not Know About Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis’s Love Story
  • A behind the scenes essay: Oxford – The City

Description:

From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.” When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy. 

In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren’t meant to have a voice—and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn’t know they had. (publisher)

My take:  Becoming Mrs. Lewis is about Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis – how they met, became friends (kindred spirits, really) and eventually married. It’s a fascinating story that pulled me in and left me a bit emotional as I turned the last page. Theirs was a cerebral relationship that grew passionate in time. Davidman and Lewis had much in common, not the least being a spiritual conversion – the reason for Davidman’s first letter to Lewis, which he answered, much to her surprise. When she travels to England on the advice of her physician Davidman finally meets Lewis in person. The rest, as they say, is history. Patti Callahan’s novel is well-researched (as detailed in her author’s note at the end of the book). I’m a fan of historical fiction and love when an author motivates me to read more about the subject. That was the case with Becoming Mrs. Lewis. I’ve added titles by Davidman and Lewis to my TBR list. Recommended to fans of the genre and Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. (originally posted on Bookfan on December 26, 2018)


About the author:

Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times best-selling author of fifteen novels, including the (Historical Fiction) BECOMING MRS. LEWIS – The improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. Now a USA TODAY, Publishers Weekly, and The Globe and Mail bestseller. Her latest novel, THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER, (Southern Contemporary Fiction) was released June 4, 2019, and is available now. A full-time author and mother of three children, she now resides in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.

Connect with Patti Callahan

Website:  patticallahanhenry.com

twitter:  @pcalhenry

Instagram:  @pattichenry

Facebook:  @AuthorPattiCallahanHenry


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Review/US Giveaway: Who Slays The Wicked

Who Slays The Wicked by C.S. Harris

Paperback release:  March 3, 2020 – Berkley Trade

Book courtesy of the publisher

Description:  When the handsome but dissolute young gentleman Lord Ashworth is found brutally murdered, Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is called in by Bow Street magistrate Sir Henry Lovejoy to help catch the killer. Just seven months before, Sebastian had suspected Ashworth of aiding one of his longtime friends and companions in the kidnapping and murder of a string of vulnerable street children. But Sebastian was never able to prove Ashworth’s complicity. Nor was he able to prevent his troubled, headstrong young niece Stephanie from entering into a disastrous marriage with the dangerous nobleman.

Stephanie has survived the difficult birth of twin sons. But Sebastian soon discovers that her marriage has quickly degenerated into a sham. Ashworth abandoned his pregnant bride at his father’s Park Street mansion and has continued living an essentially bachelor existence. And mounting evidence–ranging from a small bloody handprint to a woman’s silk stocking–suggests that Ashworth’s killer was a woman. Sebastian is tasked with unraveling the shocking nest of secrets surrounding Ashworth’s life to keep Stephanie from being punished for his death. (publisher)

My take:  Who Slays The Wicked is another good historical mystery from C.S. Harris. The intrepid and reliable Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is tasked with solving the ghastly murder of Lord Ashworth, a despicable gentleman who was married to Sebastian’s niece. There’s no shortage of people who are happy that Ashworth is dead but who would go so far as murder? This investigation hits close to home and Sebastian hopes to protect his loved ones while finding out who murdered Ashworth. The atmospheric setting and gritty plot mixed with the upper and lower classes made for a decent whodunit that answered the question in the title: Who Slays The Wicked. I think fans of the Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series and historical mysteries in general will enjoy it. This is book 14 in the series but can easily stand alone.

Note: I also listened to the audiobook. Davina Porter’s narration is perfection.


About the author:

Candice Proctor, aka C.S. Harris and C.S. Graham, is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than a dozen novels including the Sebastian St. Cyr Regency mystery series written under the name C.S. Harris, the new C.S. Graham thriller series co-written with Steven Harris, and seven historical romances. She is also the author of a nonfiction historical study of the French Revolution. Her books are available worldwide and have been translated into over twenty different languages.

Candice graduated Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude with a degree in Classics before going on to earn an MA and Ph.D. in history. A former academic, she has taught at the University of Idaho and Midwestern State University in Texas. She also worked as an archaeologist on a variety of sites including a Hudson’s Bay Company Fort in San Juan Island, a Cherokee village in Tennessee, a prehistoric kill site in Victoria, Australia, and a Roman cemetery and medieval manor house in Winchester, England. Most recently, she spent many years as a partner in an international business consulting firm.

The daughter of a career Air Force officer and university professor, Proctor loves to travel and has spent much of her life abroad. She has lived in Spain, Greece, England, France, Jordan, and Australia. She now makes her home in New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband, retired Army officer Steve Harris, her two daughters, and an ever-expanding number of cats.

http://www.csharris.net


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Spotlight/US Giveaway: And They Called it Camelot

And They Called It Camelot by Stephanie Marie Thornton

Expected publication:  March 10, 2020 – Berkley Trade Paperback Original

Book provided by the publisher

Description:

An intimate portrait of the life of Jackie O…
 
Few of us can claim to be the authors of our fate. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy knows no other choice. With the eyes of the world watching, Jackie uses her effortless charm and keen intelligence to carve a place for herself among the men of history and weave a fairy tale for the American people, embodying a senator’s wife, a devoted mother, a First Lady—a queen in her own right.
 
But all reigns must come to an end. Once JFK travels to Dallas and the clock ticks down those thousand days of magic in Camelot, Jackie is forced to pick up the ruined fragments of her life and forge herself into a new identity that is all her own, that of an American legend. (publisher)

About the author:

Stephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with women from history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska.


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Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

THE SUN DOWN MOTEL by Simone St. James

Berkley Hardcover; February 18, 2020; $26.00

About the book:

Something hasn’t been right at the roadside Sun Down Motel for a very long time, and Carly Kirk is about to find out why in this chilling new novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate New York, 1982. Viv Delaney wants to move to New York City, and to help pay for it she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, NY. But something isn’t right at the motel, something haunting and scary.

Upstate New York, 2017. Carly Kirk has never been able to let go of the story of her aunt Viv who mysteriously disappeared from the Sun Down before she was born. She decides to move to Fell and to visit the motel, where she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982. And she soon finds herself ensnared in the same mysteries that claimed her aunt.

“Deliciously creepy. A chilling blend of mystery and ghost story that will thrill fans of both.”—Riley Sager, New York Times bestselling author of Lock Every Door

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Spotlight/US Giveaway: Courting Mr. Lincoln by Louis Bayard

Courting Mr. Lincoln by Louis Bayard

Paperback Published:  February 2020 – Algonquin

Book provided by the publisher

Description:  When Mary Todd meets Abraham Lincoln in Springfield in the winter of 1840, he is on no one’s short list to be president. A country lawyer living above a dry goods shop, he is lacking both money and manners, and his gift for oratory surprises those who meet him. Mary, a quick, self-possessed debutante with an interest in debates and elections, at first finds him an enigma. “I can only hope,” she tells his roommate, the handsome, charming Joshua Speed, “that his waters being so very still, they also run deep.”

It’s not long, though, before she sees the Lincoln that Speed knows: an amiable, profound man who, despite his awkwardness, has a gentle wit to match his genius, and who respects her keen political mind. But as her relationship with Lincoln deepens, she must confront his inseparable friendship with Speed, who has taught his roommate how to dance, dress, and navigate the polite society of Springfield.

Told in the alternating voices of Mary Todd and Joshua Speed, and inspired by historical events, Courting Mr. Lincoln creates a sympathetic and complex portrait of Mary unlike any that has come before; a moving portrayal of the deep and very real connection between the two men; and most of all, an evocation of the unformed man who would grow into one of the nation’s most beloved presidents. Louis Bayard, a master storyteller, delivers here a page-turning tale of love, longing, and forbidden possibilities. (publisher)

My take: I guess I’ve been living under a rock because until this novel I’ve never heard any mention that Abraham Lincoln was rumored to be gay. Courting Mr. Lincoln is about his early years in Illinois – where he met Mary Todd and where he lived with his good friend Joshua Speed and two other boarders above Speed’s shop. The novel is told from the perspectives of Mary and Joshua which served to give depth to the characters and added to my empathy for both. I’ve always thought Lincoln seemed like a sad man, consumed with melancholy – and that feeling continues with Bayard’s Lincoln. In contrast I was intrigued by Speed’s magnetic personality. No one could escape his pull. I’d want to sit next to him at a dinner party. For me this was an enjoyable read with sparkling dialogue that kept me turning the pages. Courting Mr. Lincoln is a different look at our 16th President and I’m glad I read it. I feel compelled to read more about Joshua Speed. I love when that happens.


Praise for Courting Mr. Lincoln

“An exquisite novel about how Lincoln’s courtship of the brilliant, complicated Mary Todd intersected with his long and very (possibly VERY) close friendship with Joshua Speed. Courting Mr. Lincoln is so subtle and human and heartbreaking, infused with sly wit. I loved every word of it, and the end is note perfect. My heart broke for both Joshua and Mary, and at the same time, they were the lenses that let me think about my favorite president in new ways.” 

—Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Never Have I Ever

 

“[W]ith a richly imagined setting and complex characters…a worthy addition to the fiction about-Lincoln bookshelf.”

Booklist

 

“Bayard fictionalizes the early days of Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln’s relationship in this delightful embellishment of American history. This charming love story delicately reveals the emotional roller coaster of two inexperienced adults traversing the unknown realm of love while trying to meet the demands and expectations of society.”

Publishers Weekly

A gripping historical thriller … an entertaining novel by a gifted storyteller.”

The Washington Book Review

 

“[An] acute and passionate portrait…[I]n Bayard’s skilled hands, three complicated people groping toward a new phase in their lives is all the plot you need.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

 

“Bayard does an exceptional job of keeping readers engrossed as he weaves fact and fiction in this intriguing tale of intimacy between Lincoln and his two closest confidantes.”

BookPage

 

“ What Bayard has accomplished is to take popular figures in U.S. history and not only make them more real — if that is possible — but humanize them to a level where we all can relate to them. Courting Mr. Lincoln is engaging because Bayard has such a fine way with words. The result is a triumph of a novel and an unforgettable read that is a true page turner.”

Bookreporter.com


About the author:

Louis Bayard is a New York Times Notable Book author and has been shortlisted for both the Edgar and Dagger awards for his historical thrillers, which include The Pale Blue Eye and Mr. Timothy. His most recent novel was the critically acclaimed young-adult title Lucky Strikes. He lives in Washington, DC, and teaches at George Washington University. Visit him online at www.louisbayard.com

Photo credit: Tim Coburn


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Spotlight/US Giveaway: More Than Words

More Than Words by Jill Santopolo

Paperback published:  February 2020 – G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Giveaway book provided by the publisher

Description:  Nina has always known who she’s supposed to be. But is that who she truly is? Nina Gregory has always been a good daughter. Raised by her father, owner of New York City’s glamorous Gregory Hotels, Nina was taught that family, reputation, and legacy are what matter most. And Tim–her devoted boyfriend and best friend since childhood–feels the same. But when Nina’s father dies, he leaves behind a secret that shocks Nina to her core. Soon, Nina begins to see the men in her life–her father, her boyfriend, and unexpectedly, her boss, Rafael–in a new light, finding herself caught between the world she loves, and a passion that could upend everything. MORE THAN WORDS is a heartbreaking and romantic novel about grief, loss, love, and self-discovery, and how we choose which life we are meant to live. (publisher)

Praise for More Than Words

“A smart, sexy, delicious novel.”

People

 

“Santopolo returns with the tender More Than Words.” 

Marie Claire

“Another gorgeously heart-breaking and romantic read. . . . This one is certainly going to sweep you up in feelings.” 

Bustle

 

“A heartfelt story about life, love, and taking chances in the aftermath of loss. . . . This is a charming and sexy crowd-pleaser.”

Publishers Weekly

 

“Nina’s struggle to decide between two men, one of whom represents her old life and the other who represents what she could be if she took a chance, is propulsive and compelling. The depiction of Nina’s grief for her father is vividly raw, made more real by her eventual understanding that he was an imperfect human being. Full of drama, scandal, and romance, [More Than Words] is sure to delight fans of Santopolo’s The Light We Lost.”

Kirkus Reviews

 

“The latest from best-selling author Santopolo is a bittersweet and reflective novel of grief, loss, and coming into one’s own. Fans of leisurely paced and character-driven novels will appreciate the time she spends developing Nina’s voice and ensuring that it’s heard.”

Booklist

 

More Than Words is an outstandingly poignant and honest novel. Jill Santopolo is a true master of matters of the heart. This is a tender and wise story about family, love, and self. I couldn’t put it down.”

Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

 

“The perfect combination of romantic and real. I dare you to put this book down.”

Leslie Cohen, author of This Love Story Will Self-Destruct

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Promises of the Heart by Nan Rossiter plus a US Giveaway

Promises of the Heart by Nan Rossiter

Publication date:  February 4, 2020 – Harper Paperbacks

ARC courtesy of the author

Description:  Macey and Ben Samuelson have much to be thankful for: great friends, a beautiful—if high-maintenance—Victorian house on idyllic Tybee Island, and a rock-solid marriage. The only thing missing is what they want the most. After her fifth miscarriage in six years, Macey worries that the family they’ve always dreamed of might be out of reach. Her sister suggests adoption, but Macey and Ben aren’t interested in pursuing that path…until a three-legged Golden Retriever named Keeper wags his way into their home and their hearts.

Harper Wheaton just got kicked out of another foster home and it won’t be the last if she keeps losing her temper. She’s not sure why she gets mad; maybe because no family seems to want a nine-year-old girl with a heart condition. She loves her social worker, Cora, but knows that staying with her forever isn’t an option. Will she ever find a family to call her own?

As a physician’s assistant, Macey meets lots of kids. Harper Wheaton’s a tough one, but Macey knows the little girl has already struggled more than most. It gets Macey and Ben to thinking about all the children who need homes. Then Harper goes missing, and one thing is suddenly crystal clear: life is complicated—but love doesn’t have to be. (publisher)

My take:  Promises of the Heart is one of those novels that surprised me by how quickly it worked itself into my heart. I grew to love the characters and worried how life would go for them all.

Nine-year-old Harper’s mother died years ago. She’s never met her father and she’s had heart-breaking foster situations. Ben and Macey have just suffered another miscarriage. All they’ve wanted is a family to fill their big Victorian fixer-upper on Tybee Island. Is it possible that dream will ever come true? Reading Nan Rossiter’s story about people longing to be part of a family felt like being wrapped in a warm hug. The more time I spent with Macey, Ben and Harper the longer I wanted that hug to continue.

This is a story of keeping faith, putting oneself out there when it would be easier to shut the world out to lessen the chance for more emotional pain. I loved Promises of the Heart and recommend it to anyone who loves an emotional, heartwarming and uplifting story about family.


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